Sydney, 14 October 2021 (dpa/MIA) — Victoria has topped 2,000 daily coronavirus cases for the first time in the pandemic, as vaccination rates edge closer to targets in the Australian state.
State health authorities on Thursday reported that 2,297 locally transmitted covid-19 cases were recorded overnight, a jump of more than 700 from the previous day and the highest single-day number for any state or territory in Australia during the pandemic.
Eleven deaths were also recorded overnight.
The Thursday figures bring the total number of cases in the state to nearly 60,000 and the death toll to 945, including 125 deaths in the current delta variant outbreak.
Stay-at-home orders have been in place in various parts of the state and in particular its capital Melbourne for weeks. The city is currently in its sixth lockdown, setting a record earlier this month for the longest cumulative time a city has spent under stay-at-home orders.
As of Wednesday, 61.5 percent of eligible Victorians were fully vaccinated and 86.7 percent had received one jab. The state is expected to begin lifting restrictions for those vaccinated once 70 percent of eligible residents are fully jabbed.
State premier Dan Andrews on Thursday told journalists that he expected that the 70-percent mark will be hit roughly at the same time as the 90-percent single dose target at some point next week, calling it a “fantastic achievement.”
“That means that we can confidently deliver on the roadmap,” Andrews said.
“I am not here to talk about how we operationalize the 70 percent … that work is still ongoing and it is going to be a busy few days but as soon as we can give people clarity about next week, we will,” the premier said.
“We have, fundamentally, a very important agreement with the Victorian community – you get vaccinated and we will open up, and I do what I say,” he said.
Case numbers in Victoria only recently overtook neighboring New South Wales, which has seen case numbers drop and lifted its lockdown earlier in the week after hitting the 70-percent double-jabbed target.
NSW, which on Thursday reported 406 new locally acquired cases and six more deaths, was expected to cross the 80-percent vaccination mark this week and see further freedoms from next week.
Australia, with a population of 25 million, long sought to eradicate the virus with a “zero-covid” strategy, but after failing to contain several delta variant outbreaks, has largely shifted to achieving vaccination targets as a way out of lockdown.
Across Australia, over 65 percent of people over 16 are fully vaccinated and over 83 percent have received one jab.